Schizophrenia is the common mental illness observed throughout the world. The symptoms of schizophrenia correspond closely to the popular conception of a madman. The chronic nature of this illness makes life disabling and difficult for the patient as well as for the family members.
Paranoid schizophrenia is one of the most common types of schizophrenia among several types of schizophrenia. In this variety, the patient is crowded with false beliefs (delusions). He believes that he is surrounded by hostile forces. He has bizarre delusion of someone watching him secretly, plotting to do harm against him or his family members.
He hears threatening voices that are not real, it is a hallucination. Because of good memory and concentration power, these patients comparatively live better in their daily life. However, there is high possibility of suicidal tendencies in such patients. Unfortunately, paranoid schizophrenic patients have little insight that they are ill and in need of treatment. With an early recognition, treatment and support, patient has good prognosis to live a happy life.
Symptoms Of Paranoid Schizophrenia
The signs and symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia can be a florid manifestation or they can be of milder form.Milder varieties are less easy to recognize as they merge with everyday living habits.
The symptoms of milder form are:
- Unexpected rudeness and tactlessness.
- Abrupt withdrawal from ordinary social contacts.
Patient having milder symptoms may be considered awkward and unsociable. But with bizarre ideas and thoughts, shouting back at hallucinatory voices, or behaving conspicuously in a strange manner makes people around him to realize that the patient is not merely eccentric but mentally ill.
Symptoms in its severe form:
- Auditory hallucination: Person hears voices which really do not exist. Especially the patient hears unfriendly voices. Person may shout back at voices that are not present.
- Delusion: There is a false belief that someone wants to harm him. Someone wants to kill him. He also has delusion that he is much powerful and great than he is in a real manner.
- Anxiousness: They are highly anxious.
- Detachment: Physically or emotionally the patient becomes reserved and detached with the family members, friends, and people whom he knows.
- Patient sometimes becomes violent.
- He becomes quarrelsome.
- Person has suicidal thoughts and behavior. In some cases suicidal thoughts can be recognized by others, for example the patient may say ‘he does not wish to live longer’ etc. In some cases, the patient may not exhibit it and slowly begins to collect the ways to commit suicide. Before that he gets all the affairs clear.
What Are The Causes Of Paranoid Schizophrenia?
The cause of paranoid as well as other forms of schizophrenia remains unknown. Genetics and environmental problems are supposed to be the triggering factors. Most of the cases occur between the teenage and mid 30’s.
- Family history of schizophrenia. This means the disease has some genetic relation. If someone from the family is paranoid schizophrenic, there is possibility of other member to develop the same.
- Stressful life events such as loss of dear and near ones.
- Patient may have been exposed to virus infection when he was in his mother’s womb.
- Mother suffering from mal nutrition when pregnant.
- Pregnancy at older age has relatively more chance for the child becoming schizophrenic.
- Taking psychoactive drugs.
How To Cure Paranoid Schizophrenia?
Paranoid schizophrenia is a lifelong disease. The patient has to be monitored throughout his life even while the symptoms recede or become unrecognizable. Following are the treatment options:
- Medicines: Several antipsychotic medicines have made spontaneous recovery from the acute stage of the psychosis in few months. These medicines may give relief in patient’s delusion, hallucination, and alienation from reality, rather than a radial cure.
- Hospitalization: Patient with severe symptoms may need hospitalization.
- Psychotherapy is also valuable. The health care provider gives behavioral therapy to the patient.
- ECT (electroconvulsive therapy): In this therapy, a controlled electric current is passed through brain to produce controlled seizures. It produces release of neurochemicals in the brain.
Certain lifestyle changes are beneficial for paranoid schizophrenic patients.
- Patient should take prescribed medicines without giving it a break, even if he feels better.
- Avoid incidences and circumstances which are responsible for triggering a relapsed episode.
- Avoid alcohol consumption as it can worsen the symptoms.
Putting in briefly, paranoid schizophrenic patient is not intellectually impaired, but he does badly if he is allowed to withdraw completely from the social contacts and practical activities. He even fairs more badly if he is involved in emotionally demanding relationship, to which he is unable to respond.